Isla Holbox is a beatiful island located on the northern tip of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, in the Sate of Quintana Roo. It is part of the Yum Balam Nature Reserve. The island is separated from the mainland by the Yalahau Lagoon, home to flamingos and pelicans.
Holbox Island is accessible by sea from the port of Chiquilá. You can take the passenger ferry and cross the Yalahau Lagoon to the island of Holbox. In fact, the journey takes only about 20 minutes to cross (there is also service available on private boats).
The island sits between the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. As a result, its waters are rich in marine life including sea turtles. Island highlights include laid-back Holbox Village and Punta Coco Beach.
This region is actually a natural refuge for several endangered species. The majority of the island’s inhabitants are active in protecting the area.
On June 6, 1994 the Mexican Government decreed the Yum Balam Nature Reserve a protected area during the administration of Carlos Salinas de Gortari.
Since then, it is home to tourism projects with sustainable approaches. Particularly seeking out and approving only projects with minimal impact on the various ecosystems, fauna, and endemic vegetation in the area.
Island of Nature
These lands were never uninhabited, despite what history led us believe. In fact, the area has always been home to the Maya and their descendants.
The entire region was part of the Ekab Cacicazgo, a Mayan chiefdom. The area extended from Cape Catoche to Ascension Bay. The islands of Holbox, Contoy, Isla Blanca, Isla Mujeres, Cancun, and Cozumel were all part of this Ekab Cacicazgo territory.
Many survivors fled the social rebellion known as the Caste War. The refugees formed the Political Party of the Islands, starting in Isla Mujeres and extending up to Isla Holbox.
In 1880, some Yucatecan entrepreneurs began the colonization of the northern part of the peninsula and created El Cuyo and Anexas.
Haciendas and villages such as Solferino, Moctezuma, Tunich, Yalahau, Chiquila, San Jose, Saan Fernando and others functioned to expand and diversify the agricultural frontier.
The archives that recognize any population existing on Isla Holbox date from December 1852. It is said that the Village of Yalahau was attacked by a group of 300 Mayans taking 15 men prisoners. The survivors from the attack left everything behind and moved away from Yalahau to Holbox Island, becoming the first settlers.
The island of Holbox has been protected by its people who are known to have a firm character. This is the reason why Isla Holbox is one of Mexico’s best kept treasures.
Nowadays, Isla Holbox is open for low impact tourism. Even so, locals hold wildlife preservation on the island in high regard.
Interesting Cuisine & Carnival
The relaxed atmosphere, warm waters, white sand beaches and colorful buildings create a little paradise.
The island has no paved roads, the streets are simply white sand. There are very few cars on the island. Traditional means of transportation are electric or gas powered golf carts, cycling and walking.
The most common item of Holbox Island cuisine is lobster. Every day fishermen head out to sea to bring back this fresh product. It is the most significant part of the fishing economy in the community.
Carnival is an event carried out with the typical traditions of the locals. It is cheerful, full of colorful costumes and dances.
Many performers are people from the island. Children and older folks alike, all participating in their costumes of rumberos or Mayan and Aztec Natives.
You can best enjoy this colorful show on the streets of Holbox. Several hotels participate giving out food or drinks while acting like pit stops through the procession.
Viewing the Bioluminescence Event
The Gulf of Mexico is very calm and warm. The beaches are long, white and widely decorated with sea shells and horseshoe-crab skeletons.
You cannot miss the natural spectacle caused by phytoplankton between July to January.
Phytoplankton emit tiny bits of blue light after they become agitated. The light can illuminate the water in an incredible way, you can even see the fish swimming around at night!
This phenomena occurs on some of the beaches of the island. You can best observe this spectacle when there is no moonlight.
You can book the Holbox Bioluminescence Event here!
Whale Shark Adventure
While bird lovers can admire the pink flamingos and various species of birds on the island, water enthusiasts can visit the whale sharks. During the summer, it is an activity that is wildly popular in Isla Holbox.
Swimming with the giant Whale Sharks during the summer is one of our favorite activities. People come all around the world to do the Whale Shark Snorkeling Trip. In this tour you will discover and snorkel with the biggest fish in the world!
This giant animals can grow up to 40 ft and live up to 100 years all while feeding on the smallest plankton particles of the ocean.
Learning about their habits and environment, taking pictures and swimming with the whale sharks is an experience that you cant miss!
Fun Activities to Do in Isla Holbox
Here is a list of activities you can do on the island while you visit us!
Find 10 More things about Isla Holbox visiting this interesting Blog!